Saturday, March 13, 2010

Are you protesting? No, I'm praying.

     A teenage girl walked by me with four of her friends. The five of them were talking and laughing as they drank their Slurpees and strolled down the Boulevard on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. One of them watched a squirrel scurry up a tree. The others poked fun at the friend who was worried about killer squirrels attacking. I smiled to hear them carrying on.
     It was then that one of the girls looked at the sign I was holding that reads PRAY TO END ABORTION. 40 DAYS FOR LIFE and asked, “Are you protesting?”
      “No, I’m praying,” I said.
      This clearly wasn’t the response the girl expected, so she asked me more questions about my beliefs. Her friends stopped walking and were silent, so I suspect they were also listening to our brief conversation. I explained that I love all of God’s children. Her next questions led me to assure her that if a woman who is pregnant isn’t able to care for her child that there are many couples out their who would love to raise that child as their own.
     Note to reader: I've written several blog posts over the past three years about being involved in 40 Days for Life. Since the movement has grown bigger, but the message of love and healing has remained the same, I've decided to post the articles from my previous blog site here. This post was written and originally posted on November 1, 2008.
      I’m fairly certain none of these young women were pregnant. I bet they, like most people who walk or drive by, didn’t even know that the building on the corner of Grove and Boulevard that’s sign says it’s a Richmond Medical Center For Women is really an abortion clinic. I can’t claim that my presence and prayers at the vigil today definitely saved a child from being killed, but I know beyond a doubt that I was able, through the grace of God, to plant some seeds in the minds and hearts of some teenage girls.
      While outside of the clinic, I hummed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy remembering that “we are not fighting flesh and blood but principalities of the dark.” Hate, anger, and bitterness are not what the world needs. Where there is an abundance of judgment, sin, darkness, lies, and greed, we are called to be messengers of God’s forgiveness, mercy, light, Truth, love and compassion.
     Beginning on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 and going through Sunday November 2, 2008 (which also happens to be All Souls Day), simultaneous 40 Days for Life campaigns have been taking place in 179 cities in 47 American states, two Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia and American Samoa. This year’s 40 Days for Life campaign is the largest and longest coordinated pro-life mobilization in history. This movement has helped educate many about the true colors of Planned Parenthood, which does 25 percent of the 1.25 million abortions done annually in the United States. More importantly, it has made prayer the weapon of choice against a culture of death.
     During this Fall’s 40 Days for Life campaign, there have been at least 543 turnarounds, where women seeking abortion changed their minds. Several people have quit their jobs in the abortion industry. A number of abortion centers have been closed on days when abortions are usually performed. Tens of thousands of people have taken part in 40 Days for Life events, many engaging in pro-life activities for the first time in their lives.
     Men, women, and children of all ages, races, religions, and economic backgrounds gathered together to pray for an end to abortion. Some drove two or more hours just to get to the vigil, while others walked from their homes down the street.
     My mom has been very passionate about 40 Days for Life and has invited and inspired many of her friends to join the vigil. She’s made signs, gone during her lunch hour to fill time slots no one had signed up for, and she’s educated family members and friends about the abortion industry that has formed in our country.
     My grandmother, who is 85 and lives in a nursing home nearby, participated as well by praying at home at the same time someone was at the vigil. My dad took great joy in being involved in an important way, though he is also homebound. He made over one hundred phone calls to invite area pro-lifers to sign up for an hour of prayer. I know that he made a difference because I met one woman at the vigil who had been involved last year who received one of his phone calls and signed up for some more time slots this year.
     This fall 40 Days for Life campaign will end, but our opportunity, our responsibility, to protect the sanctity of life will continue forever.
     Lord, I pray that everyone will turn to You for guidance before voting on Tuesday. Fill us with Your wisdom and love. Help us to discern which politicians will be most likely to do Your will, and give us the courage to vote for those individuals. You, Lord, are ALL we have, and You give us ALL we need. Our future is in Your hands. Lord, we pray for Your will. Amen.
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